January Update

January 1, 2017

Brush pick-up begins in BHN, Sunnyside, and 12th South on January 4 and in HWEN on January 11.

Walk N Bike — After months of community engagement for input, Walk N Bike—Nashville’s strategic plan for sidewalks and bikeways—will be presented to the public. The draft plan outlines Nashville’s major sidewalk and bikeway needs and a new approach for how to fill those needs. It identifies priority networks for both sidewalks and bikeways, as well as other recommendations to make Nashville a more walkable and bike-able city. There will be a series of meetings following the plan’s release beginning Monday, January 9, at the Nashville Public Library downtown branch at noon with Mayor Megan Barry. For those who can’t make the noon meeting downtown, there will be a meeting at the Metro Nashville Police Department West Precinct, 5500 Charlotte Pike on the January 9 from 7–9pm. Residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft plan here.

12th S Water Project — A community meeting is scheduled to discuss the 12th S water project on Wednesday, January 11 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at Midtown Hills Precinct, 1443 12th Avenue South. The project will involve Linden, Elmwood, Beechwood, and Sweetbriar Avenues between Belmont Blvd and 12th Avenue South and is expected to take about a year to complete. Storm water improvements for several alleys in the area are also included.

HWEN neighbors are invited to a community meeting to discuss Martin Center field improvements that will also allow for limited overflow parking. The meeting will be Saturday morning, January 14 at 11am at the Martin Center. David Proffitt from Metro Schools and representatives from Hawkins Partners will explain the process to regrade the field and add soil enhancements that will strengthen the grass to make it better for both recreation and limited overflow parking. I have requested an amendment to the Specific Plan that governs the Martin Center to spell out how many times a month the field would be used for overflow parking and under what circumstances. I am hopeful that this can result in a better field for neighborhood families and Eakin students, and a partial solution to the parking issues associated with the largest meetings at the Teachers Center.

Come celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rooster at Hillsboro Village! The Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville is hosting a Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 28 from 12-3pm at Vanderbilt University’s Corner Park between 21st Avenue S. and Blakemore Ave. This is a free event and is open to the public. All ages are welcome to enjoy Lion dance, dragon dance, Chinese Yo-yo, Kungfu, Bamboo dance, and more! Food vendors will be there at noon, and the performing program starts at 1pm.

MNPS plans to hold a community meeting about the Hillsboro High School renovation at the end of January or early February. It is expected that the entire property will be retained with significant changes and additions to the existing building. Information about the meeting will be published as soon as it is made available.

Every four years, state law requires a reassessment of all property in the county. This process was completed in 2016, and the new assessments will be published this spring and reflected in the 2017 property taxes. Because the reassessment is required by the state to be revenue neutral, the tax rate will also be adjusted downward so that the reassessment does not produce any increase in income. Some parts of town will actually see a decrease in property taxes. The neighborhoods in District 18 have seen growth in property values over the past four years, but not as dramatic as those in areas of town with significant gentrification taking place. For that reason most properties should be close to neutral with regard to an actual tax increase in District 18. The property assessor will hold a community meeting for the district in February to explain the process and answer questions. Property owners with limited incomes may be able to qualify for a tax freeze or for tax relief. Information about these programs will also be available at the meeting. Time and location will be announced in the February update and on the neighborhood listserves.

Belmont University will begin construction this month on a new dormitory in the Bruin Hills area off of 15th Ave S. It is scheduled to open in fall 2018. A community meeting was held in November to talk about impacts on neighbors. The two major concerns were blasting and traffic during construction. Some blasting will be required to prepare the site’s topography for the building’s ground floor. Blasting is anticipated to begin in January and to last six weeks with no more than two blasts per day. A warning horn will sound five minutes, two minutes and again one minute prior to each blast.

Construction traffic will enter from 12th Avenue onto Caldwell and then turn and access the site via the alley behind Bass Street Baptist Church. Egress from the site will be the same way. This will apply to all construction deliveries. Tractor trailer rigs unable to turn around on the site will still enter from 12th but leave the site and exit onto 15th. Students who are assigned to park in the parking garage under Dickens and Horrell Halls will not be able to access their garage from 12th Avenue as they have in the past. They will temporarily be directed to access the garage via the alley that runs along the south side of the Hillside Apartments between 12th Avenue South and 15th Avenue South. Due to security restrictions at the Metro’s Emergency Call Center, the students will access this alley via Eastwood Avenue.

This year, there will be openings on two important Metro Commissions – Planning and the Metro Historic Zoning Commission. Neighbors who are interested in serving on one of these should send me a resume with information on interest and qualifications. I can’t guarantee a spot on the commission, but I will forward the resumes to the mayor’s office for consideration with my recommendation.

Development News -– The 6-home project at Orleans and Acklen is moving forward. A community meeting will be held in February to review the design, discuss the construction schedule, and set up lines of communication. In Hillsboro Village, plans have been submitted for the adaptive re-use of the Bosco’s property for a new restaurant with retail and residential properties in the back that will front on Belcourt. This project will preserve much of the historic building and provide parking for new tenants and the public. Short Term Rental regulations continue to evolve as the council responds to legal opinions, consultant recommendations, and public input. The most significant changes will likely involve increasing limitations on the properties that are not occupied by the owner and in significantly improving enforcement as Codes adds staff to deal with problem properties.

Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s production of Romeo and Juliet will be in Belmont’s Troutt Theater through the end of January. The interpretation fuses Verona of the 1590s with the American pop culture of the 1990s, complete with a 1990s inspired score played live on Renaissance instruments. Rediscover Shakespeare’s story of a city torn apart by hate, where young love may be the only hope for peace. Public Performances are January 5 – 29, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pmand Sundays at 2:30pm.

Metro Parks offers a range of great classes at very reasonable prices from drama and dance to tennis and visual arts. Register for Metro Parks programs here.

In December, Metro Public Works completed an ambitious traffic signal synchronization project to optimize and streamline the timing of 550 signals along 18 major pikes and corridors throughout Nashville. The project aimed to implement signal-retiming plans countywide to increase Nashville’s road capacity without making major, costly changes to existing infrastructure. The project also reduced vehicle travel-time delays attributed to outdated infrastructure and signal-timing that did not reflect current, on-the-ground conditions. Intersection Times-of-Day plans were developed based on a fresh round of traffic-counts at each location, collected in the spring of this year when K-12 schools were still in session. In addition to retiming signals, MPW installed new controllers at 600 locations in order to improve system reliability, enable computerized interaction with full Bus Rapid Transit service planned for the future, decrease maintenance costs, and adjust signals in real-time as needed. Metro Public Works has additional signal re-timings underway on Old Hickory Boulevard, as well as a major, federally-funded project on Murfreesboro Pike that will prioritize signals to enhance MTA’s “BRT Lite” bus service. Optimizing the timing of signals is considered a low-cost, high-benefit approach to mitigating urban traffic congestion. By deploying improved signal technology to maximize traffic progression on the local transportation system, traffic engineers can help to minimize stops, delays, fuel consumption, and pollution from tailpipe emissions. Other benefits include minimizing the diversion of traffic onto local and residential streets, and improving intersection safety.

Nashville Reads – Each year the Mayor’s office picks one book for Nashvillians to read as a city. This year’s selection is March, the graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis, a giant of the civil rights movement and an incredible example of courage, grace and moral imagination. Congressman Lewis got his start as an activist more than 50 years ago on the downtown streets of Nashville, where he led the lunch counter sit-ins and then the Freedom Rides. The first book of the March trilogy is a compelling read that has a lot to teach us about race, equity, leadership, and other issues. There will be a series of ShopTalks planned for discussing topics of this book this spring. Check the library’s website for locations.

I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start, and I look forward to working with you in 2017. I’m always happy to get your input — feel free to contact me at 615-383-6604 or burkley.allen@nashville.gov.

Regards, 
Burkley Allen 
Metro Council 18th District

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